Honda Accord Coupe 2.4: Where Function and Fun Converge

Positioned as an innovative and sporty near-premium mass-market maker, Japanese brand Honda enjoys a dedicated clientele and a long history of pioneering, sensible, thoroughly engineered and fun cars under its belt.

With a sporting flavor stemming from its Formula 1 involvement since the mid-1960s and most memorably in powering the Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost era Honda-McLarens. Honda’s sports and coupe models also notably include the 1990-2005 NSX supercar, Civic CRX cult favorite, 1987-91 Prelude coupe, which was the first mass-produced four-wheel-steer car and its sporting high revving Type R cars, which count a fiercely loyal fan base.

An elegant, comfortable and user-friendly mid-size coupe, the 2013 model year Honda Accord Coupe 2.4 may not be the brand’s sportiest or innovative offering, but features similar hallmarks including an efficient and high-revving engine and light but accurate steering and agile and rewarding handling dynamics. An honest, refined but entertaining medium-sized 5-seat coupe, the Accord coupe impressively combines the interior comfort and convenience of a larger car with the eager and sharp driving dynamics of a smaller car, but one would have wished for the manual gearbox version to better complement the four-cylinder engine.

Evolutionary in design, the latest 2013 model year Honda Accord Coupe shares its’ predecessor’s elegant and flowing lines, but features tighter lines and sharper attention to details and design. Similar to the previous Accord Coupe’s silhouette, the new version emphasizes front cabin space before its roofline rakishly descends to a low, short and pertly upturned boot with a spoiler integrated into the sheet metal for aerodynamic down-force.  With a moodier and more assertive look, the 2013 Accord Coupe features browed front and rear fascias and more prominent character lines for a greater sense of presence.

Honeycomb grille and lower intake elements mix with a light and tasteful smattering of chrome. Sharper edged and more chiseled, the new Accord features bumpers are more charismatic with a bigger intake, more defined foglight housings and more jutting front and rear spoiler lips. bumpers with bigger lower intakes and defined foglight housings while the bonnet features twin sharp lines, which combine with more muscular sill and flank definition and subtle wheel arch flared to create a sportier and more aggressive look, as if the Accord Coupe  is about to pounce.

Powered by a 16-valve variable-timing 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine developing 173HP at 6200rpm and 166lb/ft at 4000rpm in this particular guise, the Honda Accord Coupe’s delivery and operation is smooth, refined and progressive, but is at its best when taken hard to its’ high-revving sweet spot and power. Eager to be revved mercilessly to its’ redline the Accord’s under-square design engine revs up swiftly and winds down quickly when lifting of the throttle. Combined with accurate throttle control and brisk responses at high revs, the Accord Coupe’s engine has more of a sporting sensibility than many rivals.

Noticeably efficient on test drive from anecdotal observation, the Accord Coupe seems tuned with efficiency in mind, and needs to be rather firm and decisive with throttle inputs at low speeds to actuate the desired gearbox downshift and responsiveness required. This is a car that would be best driven with a manual geabox to exploit its sporty handling and sweet revvy engine. The tested 5-speed automatic is smooth, but would have been better if it had an independently selectable position for each gear ratio, rather than featuring three selectable drive positions to control five ratios.

A comfortable, stable, reassuring, refined and insulated on highways as any good medium-size saloon, the 2-door Honda Accord Coupe’s light and quick steering and good visibility also make it maneuverable in congested urban streets and through narrow country lanes. Seemingly shrinking around the driver, the Accord Coupe’s nimble, agile and eager cross country driving dynamics were unexpectedly entertaining and enjoyable. Eager, crisp and precise through quick, narrow and winding roads, and into a sharp fast corners, the Accord Coupe – with its lighter 4-cylinder as tested – felt composed and intuitive through corners and sudden switch-back direction changes.

Though losing its predecessor’s more sophisticated double wishbone front suspension for more conventional front MacPherson struts along with rear multi-links, the new Accord feels sporty, tight and fluidly follows road curvatures and textures. Damper, spring and anti-roll bar settings and tires find a nice balance between handling and comfort, while over sudden crests and dips, the Accord Coupe feels pinned down and settled on the rebound. The Accord Coupe’s steering may be user-friendly and feather-light, but is quick and has a sense of clarity and intuitive feel and feedback. Low-rolling resistance 225/50R17 tires were smooth and promoted efficiency, but stickier footwear would well complement its handling abilities.

Well-packaged airy, uncomplicated and ergonomic inside, the Accord Coupe’s interior user-friendly functionality, front space and seating position greatly impressed. Easy to enter front and even rear, the Accord Coupe’s front seats easily accommodate larger and taller drivers – even with the sunroof option, as driven – while rear seats can take up to three passengers if necessary, and considering the rakish coupe roofline, space is actually fairly decent for its class. With a highly adjustable, comfortable and supportive driver’s seat, generous headspace, adjustable rake and long steering reach travel, one easily finds a comfortable but upright and attentive driving position.

Sat correctly and low to the floor and with better front, side and cornering visibility lines from the Accord Coupe’s big front glasshouse section, one feels confident and in control behind the well-sized and chunky steering wheel. The Accord Coupe’s huge speedometer, large and logically laid out buttons and intuitively user-friendly infotainment system allow one better concentrate on driving. Bluetooth connectivity is complemented by a USB port, but this could have been less awkwardly placed. Interior styling is uncluttered, airy and logical, finish and materials generally good, with the better textures more prominently placed and the harder plastics discretely position.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.4-litre, transverse 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 87 x 99mm
  • Compression ratio: 10:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable-timing
  • Gearbox: 5-speed automatic, FWD
  • Top gear / final drive ratio: 0.54:1 / 4.44:1
  • Power, HP (kW): 173 (129) @ 6200rpm
  • Specific power: 73.5HP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 114.5HP/ton
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 166 (225) @ 4000rpm
  • Specific torque: 95.5Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 149Nm/ton
  • Fuel capacity: 65-litres
  • Length: 4835mm
  • Width: 1855mm
  • Height: 1435mm
  • Wheelbase: 2725mm
  • Track: 1585mm
  • Ground clearance: 141mm
  • Kerb weight: 1510kg
  • Steering: Variable-assistance rack & pinion
  • Lock-to-lock: 2.56-turns
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs / discs
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link
  • Tires: 225/50R17